Dec. 20, 2014
- TaxSlayer Bowl Central Page
- Hawkeye Football Game Day
- 2014 Fall Camp Central
- Read the December issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye iPhone/iPad app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye android app
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — No seniors? No problem.
It was a step into 2015 for the University of Iowa football team during its eighth postseason practice Dec. 20 in preparation for the TaxSlayer Bowl against Tennessee on Jan. 2.
Outland Trophy winner Brandon Scherff wasn’t there. Either was leading tackler Johnny Lowdermilk, leading rusher Mark Weisman, or leading receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley. Saturday was the one time during bowl season when seniors are excused from drills because of graduation.
“It is a great challenge and a great experience,” said junior free safety Jordan Lomax. “We get a preview of what next year is going to be like. It is a good opportunity for us to come out here and play together because this is who we are and who we are going to have next year.”
Lomax, who finished the regular season with 84 tackles, six pass breakups, and an interception, is one of the players who will be counted on as a leader next season. That exercise was on display in the Indoor Football Practice Facility on Saturday when Lomax and others made certain the practice was intense with a quick tempo. It wasn’t unlike the previous seven practices the Hawkeyes have had leading up to the TaxSlayer Bowl.
“It has been high energy. The offense has come out here and made some good plays, the defense has come out here and made some good plays. It’s a very competitive environment and we’re getting back to playing regular Iowa football: playing physical, tough, and having fun at the same time.”
UI junior free safety
“It has been high energy,” Lomax said. “The offense has come out here and made some good plays, the defense has come out here and made some good plays. It’s a very competitive environment and we’re getting back to playing regular Iowa football: playing physical, tough, and having fun at the same time.”
Iowa entered the final two weeks of the regular season with a record of 7-3. The Hawkeyes played well during a 26-24 loss to Wisconsin on Nov. 22 and led 24-7 against Nebraska on Nov. 28 before falling in overtime, 37-34. Iowa outgained both teams (412 to 405 against Wisconsin and 372 to 363 against Nebraska).
“We know how good of a team we can be when we execute and we don’t have missed assignments or errors,” Lomax said. “It is getting back to our fundamental; that is what we’re harping on during this bowl prep.”
The Hawkeyes (7-5) and Tennessee (6-6) meet in the TaxSlayer Bowl on EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida. Iowa has posted a 6-5 bowl record under head coach Kirk Ferentz. Since the 2001 season, no Big Ten Conference team has won more bowl games or has a higher winning percentage in bowl games than Iowa.
Now that the fall semester has ended, Lomax and the rest of the student-athletes can concentrate solely on football and the Volunteers.
“It’s a good relief, you don’t have to worry about classes or finals,” Lomax said. “You only have one place to be and that’s at football. Outside of football you can relax and put on game film of Tennessee.”
Lomax received the team hustle award for defense and special teams Dec. 7 at the team postseason banquet.
The Hawkeye return to practice Sunday…with the seniors in pads and back on the field.
To order tickets to the TaxSlayer Bowl, click HERE.